Last weekend I was privileged to be amongst the first to visit the Stockingbridge Junction, a new bridge connecting Ruchill, Maryhill and Gilshochill.

It truly was an honour to have the chance to see this amazing structure closely.

And it won’t be long before all our people can begin using this wonderful addition to our communities of North Glasgow.

Part of the Stockingbridge development has an additional project running alongside it. Local communities are being brought together by local artists to work together to create something extraordinary around this new Glasgow landmark.

Glasgow Times: Bailie McLaren & Councillor Gow Bailie McLaren & Councillor Gow

I visited two of the local artists involved in the project at their base in the Whisky Bond at Port Dundas, helping to make tiles which will be included in the new artwork designs.

The tiles will be used either on the viewing platform itself or as part of other pieces of art surrounding the bridge.

It was exciting to see the many tiles which have already been fired up and are ready and waiting for their owners to paint.  

I’ve never been involved in a public art project of this scale and struggle to remember anything similar in the north of the city in recent memory.

Our local schools, nurseries, community groups, woman’s centres across Canal and Maryhill Wards have come together to create something creative and permanent, something which involves the people of the very communities which will be served by this wonderful project.

As I’ve written here several times before, the renewal of the Canal and its impact on the health, well-being and general mood of the neighbourhoods which have grown up alongside it is one of Glasgow’s great modern success stories. The bridge and the arts project are part of that.

Glasgow Times: Beither - Mythological Scottish FolkloreBeither - Mythological Scottish Folklore

A significant part of this project will be the creation of a Beithir - a mythical creature from Scottish folklore.

The Beithir is often described as either "the largest and most deadly kind of serpent", or as a dragon minus the typical features such as wings or fiery breath. It dwells in mountainous caves and corries and carries a venomous sting. (Is there a connection here with the North of the city? Did it live in the Campsies?)

It’s this mysterious creature which will be adorned with the thousands of coloured tiles made by the communities across the north. 

It’s interesting that most of the artwork around this new site will be covered in wonderful colourful ceramic pottery.

During the 19th century Glasgow was a major centre for the production and export of ceramics. From the mid 18th century to the late 20th century Scotland was involved the making and export of pottery, spanning nearly 250 years of production with a truly global reach. 

Glasgow Times: Saracen Pottery Factory Saracen Pottery Factory

Four of Glasgow largest potteries, Bell’s, Port Dundas, Britannia and Caledonia, were all situated along Glasgow’s canal network, producing ceramics for national and international markets. Another pottery of international significance was situated in Possilpark.

Established on Denmark Street in 1875, Possil or Saracen Pottery has a complex and diverse history. Starting out making teapots, pitchers and plates, they exhibited at the Glasgow Exhibition of 1888. 

Under the brand name ‘Nautilus’ they made some of the finest porcelain ever produced in Britain, let alone Scotland.

Glasgow Times: Nautilus PotteryNautilus Pottery

Tennents Brewery took over the pottery in 1914 and began producing stoneware bottles for their export trade to Cuba. The pottery finally shut its doors in 1942 and it was demolished in the late 1980’s.

It’s such a pity that Canal Ward has lost so much of its heritage over the decades and nothing was put in place to protect these wonderful buildings. 

One of the artists on this project has very interesting plans to create a Scottish Pottery Museum beside the Forth and Clyde Canal. 

The creation of a Scottish Pottery Museum would be a first and create a space for local and international artists to thrive and to collaborate on future projects for exhibitions, creating as well a space for ceramic learning. 

Canal Ward will be going full circle now with pottery and ceramics making a comeback in the North, back to its original home along the banks of the Canal. This is a great community full of vibrancy, community spirit, history and a real can-do attitude. I’m so proud to represent it.

If you want to know more about these wonderful plans please contact